Town Crier: They call Him the Wanderer

MONTCLARION: March 19, 2010

He scours the streets, looking for food.  “Who will show kindness today?” he asks, as his body grows weary from the hunt. There is no rest, really, when you’re homeless – nowhere that’s safe – nowhere that’s nurturing.

And yet, something tells me this cat is “working it”. Like clockwork, he shows up at dinnertime and I acquiesce. Despite the objections of my own feline charge, I put out a spread for this drifter, who seems oddly plump when it’s all said and done.

And now it occurs to me that my visitor may not be homeless at all. Yes, he is dusty, but a black coat will do that – show dirt, I mean. He’s friendly, not feral. He’s healthy, not haggard. And did I mention his chubby physique?

I bring this up, as it relates to a cat tale I heard in the Village last week. Owen Rubin was coming out of Montclair Veterinary Hospital with his fat tabby, Oliver, who is apparently much like the black cat on my street. Oliver lives on Merriewood, and Rubin has been trying, desperately, to keep puss’s weight from reaching Guinness Book of World Record proportions. Turns out, everyone on Merriewood thought Oliver was homeless and fed him. He was working the buffet and it wasn’t until neighbors introduced themselves at a watch meeting that the truth was revealed. “We were introducing ourselves as the person who had this dog or that cat,” Rubin said, and it turned out that Oliver had multiple “owners”.  “We’re feeding that cat!” the neighbors chimed in – almost in unison.

So I wonder if “Blackie” is homeless at all. Or is he a fat cat who’s figured out that the gravy train runs on a regular schedule – and he’s got a ticket to ride.

Montclair muses: Shops are going in and out like the tide, these days. In the case of Colonial Donuts, it seems rent was the big factor in their upcoming move from one Montclair building to another. Word has it they’ll save around $1500 a month when they set up shop in the old XOX Truffles locale. That leaves four vacant spaces in the Montclair mini-mall where Movie Express, Score, Argento and the donut shop once operated. Makes you wonder what’s going on there….

On stage: Want big bang for your buck on the entertainment front? Check out the upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Skyline High School. For just $10 ($8 for children and seniors) you’ll see a cast of 25 student actors and dancers, enhanced by a live orchestra and a choir of students from Bret Harte and Montera Middle Schools. Performances run March 24th to 27th and April 1st to 3rd. For more information contact Sharon Higgins at 510-530-4674 or by e-mail at

Yappy Hour: Happy hour is going to the dogs (and other well-behaved critters) at the popular Dimond District shop Paws & Claws (2023 MacArthur Blvd). Co-owner Ruth Villasenor says pets and people are mingling tonight, March 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 with hors d’oeuvres and drinks, live music and more. Not a party animal? The shop also features an art gallery of fabulous pet portraits by photographer Beth Bartons. Check out their website at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at Follow Ginny on Twitter at


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